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5 awesome breakfast taco recipes from Austin, Texas

5 awesome breakfast taco recipes from Austin, Texas

Breakfast tacos have come to define the laid-back, anything-goes vibe that’s earned the trendy Texas town its “Keep Austin Weird” motto. Even the term “breakfast” taco is a misnomer of sorts, given that many residents say there’s really no wrong time to eat one.

With a dizzying variety of options, Austin’s breakfast tacos are heavily influenced by both regional Tex-Mex cuisine and local pioneers who helped craft the city’s style. Tamale House, while no longer in its original location but still run by the late owner’s family, became famous for its no-frills classic, while fans of Torchy’s Tacos rave about its topping-loaded, modern offerings.

Everyone has a favorite, but the best part about breakfast tacos is that you really can’t go wrong. The following five recipes, from the restaurants mentioned above and a few others, represent just a few of the ways to ensure your taco will be the best part of an awesomely Austin morning, no matter where you actually are or how weird it turns out.



Tamale House’s Classic Breakfast Taco
(adapted from Houston Chronicle)
Makes 6 tacos

In the 1980s, late Tamale House founder Robert Vasquez noticed that, while Austin was mainly populated by sit-down Mexican restaurants, Southern California was full of small roadside stands selling tacos. Following their lead, he launched his now-famous taco house, which still maintains its popularity with a simple menu of breakfast tacos priced at just over a dollar.


  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tortillas
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • Onion
  • 1 pat butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 pound hickory-smoked bacon, cooked
  • 1/2 pound cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer (and, if desired, add pat of butter or 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream for richer eggs). Cube potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in saucepan until very hot and fry bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and, when cool, dice into small pieces. Add potatoes and a bit of onion to the hot pan. Cook until soft, not soggy. Strain the oil out and return potatoes to pan. Lower heat and add eggs, cooking slowly. Warm tortillas on a comal or cast-iron skillet. Fill tortillas with potato and egg, add bacon and sprinkle with cheese.



vegan breakfast taco


Tacodeli’s Freakin’ Vegan Tacos with Roja and Dona Sauce
(adapted from House Vegan and Andrew Zimmern // photo credit Hannah Teson)
Makes 4 tacos

Robert Espinosa is a key figure in explaining how breakfast tacos became an everyday, anytime meal in Austin. Since 1999, the Tacodeli founder has been expanding his empire across Texas, first taking over Austin then pushing out into Dallas and now planning a location in Houston. While they were popular from the start, Espinosa’s tacos exploded when they began popping up in coffee shops across the city. Nestled inside their own portable taco warmer, they are now available all over Austin at all hours of the day.

Taco Ingredients

  • 4 tortillas, flour or corn (double up if using corn)
  • 1 warm batch of creamy black beans (recipe below)
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo salsa

Creamy Black Beans Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, small diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can whole black beans
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk (try Flax)
  • Salt to taste

Salsa Roja ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 3 jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste

Dona Sauce ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound jalapeño peppers, trimmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and deveined
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions until they soften and begin to brown. Mix in garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the beans and milk to the skillet. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the beans as well as you can. They don't need to be completely mashed, just enough to release some starches to thicken the mixture. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree until creamy. Season with salt to taste.

Preheat a cast iron skillet and warm tortillas for about five seconds per side, until malleable. Once warm, top tortillas with black beans, avocado slices, pico de gallo, and plenty of Salsa Roja and Dona sauce.


Veracruz All Naturals’ Migas Breakfast Taco
(adapted from Serious Eats)
Makes 4 tacos

The Migas Breakfast Taco is a carb-lover’s delight that sees your normal morning meal and raises you a stack of fried tortilla strips, avocado and chili peppers. Though traditional migas are made with stale tortilla leftovers, Veracruz All Naturals chef Reyna Vazquez swears by freshly fried tortilla strips. It must be working. Her two trailers are so popular that hungry fans can be seen waiting in line for up to 30 minutes on the weekend.


  • 2 eggs, scrambled with a dash of milk
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup crumbled tortilla chips (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, cut into 8 wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Crumble tortilla chips then mix with tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Sauté the entire vegetable mixture in canola oil on medium for 15-20 seconds. Add eggs to tortilla chip and veggie mix and sauté for another minute, mixing often to incorporate the vegetables into the eggs. Warm corn tortilla in cast iron skillet then fill warmed tortillas with the migas mix. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then top with lots of grated cheese and 1/4 of an avocado per taco.



fried breakfast taco

Torchy’s Fried Avocado Breakfast Taco
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
Makes 4 tacos

The sky is the limit for taco toppings, and nobody gets more creative than Torchy’s Tacos. An early icon of Austin’s food-truck culture, Torchy’s opened its first trailer in 2006 to serve up heaping tacos that bend under the weight of green chili pork, barbecued brisket, ahi tuna and more. But be warned: With the number of toppings Torchy’s throws on, that warm flour tortilla may not be enough to hold everything together.

Poblano Ranch Dressing ingredients

  • 1 poblano chili
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Taco ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, cut into 8 wedges
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 4 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can refried beans, warmed
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup prepared pico de gallo
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack


Poblano Ranch Dressing
Char the poblano chili over a gas flame, turning occasionally, until skin is blackened; transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam 15 minutes. Peel, seed and finely chop the chili. Then whisk the chili, scallions, buttermilk, sour cream and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Place eggs, panko and flour in three separate shallow medium bowls. Season avocado with salt. Working in batches, dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Coat with egg, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Coat with panko, pressing to adhere. Pour oil into a large, deep skillet to a depth of 1 1/2 inches and heat until bubbles form on the surface (or a thermometer registers 350 degrees). Working in batches, fry avocado, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp (for about three minutes per batch). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Spread beans on tortillas and top with fried avocado, lettuce, pico de gallo and cheese. Serve with the poblano dressing.


Papalote Taco House’s Nopales, Mushroom and Tomato Breakfast Taco
(adapted from LiveMom)
Makes 4 tacos

Known for its unassuming tacos made from homemade family recipes, Papalote Taco House really shines when it comes to vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options. The little South Austin shop is known for its inventive ingredients, such as nopales (the fleshy pads of a cactus, cooked until soft). Add in mushrooms and tomatoes, and you’ve got yourself a true breakfast treat.


  • 4 ounces of nopales or 1 ounce per taco (jarred nopales are available at Mexican groceries and specialty food stores)
  • 1 ounce mushrooms, diced
  • 1 ounce tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 corn tortillas


Before making the taco, boil the nopales in water with a little bit of salt for about three minutes. Once soft, place the nopales under cool water and drain, then cut into small pieces. Beat the eggs and pour them on a hot griddle with oil. Add all the vegetables and mix with the eggs for 30-45 seconds. Meanwhile, heat the corn tortilla on the griddle until it is soft and warm. Fill and serve immediately.

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